Eleanor Catton, the 2013 Man Booker award winner, is just 28. She was born on September 24, 1985 in London, Ontario. The previous youngest winner was Ben Okri, who won the prize in 1991 at the age of 32. Catton started writing The Luminaries at the age of 25, when she was a fellow at the... Continue Reading →

  As an African American, Angelou experienced firsthand racial prejudices and discrimination in Arkansas. She also suffered at the hands of a family associate around the age of 7: During a visit with her mother, Angelou was raped by her mother's boyfriend. Then, as vengeance for the sexual assault, Angelou's uncles killed the boyfriend. So... Continue Reading →

    While practicing trial law, Erle Stanley Gardner wrote pulp fiction, basing the courtroom scenes and brilliant legal maneuvers on his own tactics. He gave up law following the success in 1933 of The Case of the Velvet Claws and The Case of the Sulky Girl, his first novels featuring the lawyer-detective Perry Mason. Eighty... Continue Reading →

  Best-selling author Agatha Christie was born Agatha Mary Clarissa Miller on September 15, 1890, in Torquay, Devon, in the southwest part of England. The youngest of three siblings, she was educated at home by her mother, who encouraged her daughter to write. As a child, Christie enjoyed fantasy play and creating characters, and, when... Continue Reading →

  Michael Ondaatje's work combines the factual and the imaginary, poetry and prose. His longer narrative works, often based on the unorthodox lives of real people, may contain documentary as well as fictional elements. Ondaatje's imagery is characterized by its preoccupation with multiculturalism; its gravitation towards the bizarre, the exaggerated, and the unlikely; its fascination... Continue Reading →

  John Maxwell Coetzee published his first novel, Dusklands, in South Africa in 1974. Three years, he won his native country's top literary honor, the Central News Agency Literary Award, for In the Heart of the Country (1977). With his next novel, Waiting for the Barbarians, the author began to build an international reputation. In 1984,... Continue Reading →

  Midnight’s Children is a loose allegory for events in India both before and, primarily, after the independence and partition of India, which took place at midnight on 15 August 1947. In the temporal sense,Midnight’s Children is post-colonial as the main body of the narrative occurs after India becomes independent. The narrative framework of Midnight’s... Continue Reading →

When Herman Melville died at the age of 72 in his home in New York City, more people knew him as a retired customs inspector than as a great writer. It had been so long since he'd published anything popular that the few people who remembered his name thought he was dead already. Yet his... Continue Reading →

  Wilde was an impressive linguist. Home schooled, he was taught French and German and also had working knowledge of Italian and Ancient Greek. Though thought of as an author, he only published one novel, "The Portait of Dorian Gray" (1891). The others were just plays or stories for children. Oscar Wilde’s last words were... Continue Reading →

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